91 Days and Counting – Will DuPage County Ever Bring A Resolution Forward Eliminating Pensions for Current and Part-Time Elected Officials?

The North West Herald reports Governor Rauner Signs Bill Ending Pensions for Elected County Board Members.

Yesterday,  Governor Rauner signed SB2701 which eliminates future part-time County Board Members from participating in the IMRF. It has been 91 days since I sent a resolution to six of my fellow board members that would eliminate current and future part-time DuPage County Board Members from collecting a pension.  Although the resolution I sent mirrored McHenry County’s resolution, cries of the resolutions legality came from many board members.

On June 14th, 71 days ago, during the DuPage County Finance Committee meeting John Curran, Vice Chairman of the DuPage County Board instructed staff to research SB2701 and report back to the committee.

It has been 69 days since I provided copies of 19 resolutions of counties that have opted out of the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund. One of these resolutions has to be “legal.”

On July 22nd,  I made public comment before the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund questioning the legality of the audit performed in August of 2015. I also questioned whether DuPage County Board Members are working a minimum of 1,000 hours per year in order to qualify for a pension.

So far 20 counties have opted out of the IMRF. Will DuPage County ever bring a resolution forward that will eliminate all current and future part-time County Board Members from participating in the IMRF?

You can read the North West Herald Story here

Minutes here

Public Comment to IMRF here

You can read more here .

The Appearance of Impropriety

 

This past Tuesday I was the only board member to vote against a contract to Wight & Company. Although I support the project, I voted no based on the $9,220 in campaign contributions over the past 12 months to the DuPage County Board Chairman and County Board Members. Of the $9220 in donations, the  DuPage County Board Chairman received $7070 in campaign contributions. Eight County Board members were the recipients of the remaining $2,150 in amounts ranging between $200 to $500. Board Member Gary Grasso commented that Wight & Company are the” best and most qualified.” That maybe the case, however the large amount of contributions over the past 12 months muddy the waters. If  a company is truly the “best and most qualified” that should be all the more reason to forgo  donating to the campaigns of elected officials.

 

 

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Human Trafficking Getting the Attention it Deserves

Last month I was invited to and attended a Women at Risk, International event. I had no idea what to expect.  I was in disbelief to learn dark details of human trafficking. I had no idea that  O’Hare International Airport makes Chicago a national hub for human trafficking. In the suburbs, massage parlors and gentlemen’s clubs are where many human trafficking victims are sought.

After the event,  I invited the group to speak before the DuPage County Health and Human Services Committee, of which I am a member.

Women at Risk, International along with the West Chicagoland Anti-Trafficking Coalition will be presenting a 15 minute program to the committee on September 6th. My hope is that this will be the first of many conversations and actions that will help educate and one day end human trafficking.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports the following

Rauner signs bill creating human trafficking task force

Gov. Bruce Rauner labeled human trafficking a form of “modern day slavery” Sunday as he signed two bills targeting on a statewide level the crime of forced sexual exploitation.

“This is going to be a long-term battle,” Rauner said during an appearance at the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center. “But we have got to end this horrible crime, bring justice for everyone, stop — stop the abuse of our women and people who are vulnerable.”

You can read the full story here .

 

 

 

 

 

#6 – Leader for Railroad Safety

“The DuPage Railroad Safety Council is made of railroad officials, government officials, engineers, educators and private citizens who have a deep concern for safety at railroad crossings. The Council was founded on April 30, 1994 as an outgrowth of a Railroad Safety Conference called by the Chairman of the DuPage County Board. Since that time, the Council has met regularly to examine ways to heighten awareness and improve safety conditions at railroad crossings and to work with civic and railroad leaders to stop preventable accidents along railroad right of ways.”(DuPage Railroad Safety Council)

During my short time as Chairwomen of the DuPage County Public Transit Committee I was the recipient of the DuPage Railroad Safety Council prestigious “Lauren Elizabeth Wilson Champion Award” for my extensive commitment to the issue of railway safety.

I am the only DuPage Public Transit Chair to be recognized by this organization.

Below I have provided a copy of the DuPage County Board Rules as they pertain to the Public Transit Committee.

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Parent Committee Designation. The Public Transit Committee is the parent committee for matters pertaining to public transportation.

Specific Duties. The Public Transit Committee shall:

a) Address railroad safety issues and seeking to make DuPage County railroads as safe as possible.

b) Encourage the construction of bridges or tunnels at railroad crossings which are not at grade, at railroad crossings deemed appropriate by the County Board.

c) Serve as a link between the County and the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference, CATS, the State of Illinois, Federal Transit Administration, Federal Railroad Association and other local transit agencies in the identification of programs and procurement of funds to implement transit related improvements, including the complete implementation of the DuPage County Transit Plan.

d) Coordinate Ride DuPage (Paratransit) programs and plans with other government agencies and private agencies in DuPage County.

e) Provide advice and recommendations on such additional public transit matters as assigned to the Committee by the County Board Chairman or the County Board in conformance with these County Board Rules.

You can learn more about the DuPage Railroad Safety Council here.

ABOUT LIZ CHAPLIN

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Meet Liz Chaplin

Liz-close-up. Liz Chaplin’s political involvement began on a summer day in 2001. As she watched her three children play in their wading pool, she wondered whether the water could have been tainted by a spill of hazardous chemicals at the Lockformer Co. in Lisle. When a test of the family’s well water found it indeed was contaminated, Liz didn’t think twice.
She got involved.
After alerting her neighbors to the danger, Liz collected signatures to demand safe drinking water for their neighborhood and she worked with the DuPage Water Commission to make sure her family and her neighbors received safe water.
And they did.
County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom was so impressed by Chaplin’s advocacy he appointed Liz to the Water Commission in 2002 and reappointed her in 2004. From the beginning of her tenure on the Water Commission, Liz Chaplin asked tough and insightful questions rather than meekly accepting the status quo. She questioned the commission’s budget presentations, spending practices and office ethics.
When the recession hit in 2008, Liz foresaw that the Water Commission would face an impending shortfall, due to its reliance on sales tax revenue and its long-standing practice of selling water to municipalities for less than was being paid to the City of Chicago. The incumbent insiders attempted to shrug of Chaplin’s concerns – and sweep everything under the rug – however Liz stood her ground and her views were eventually vindicated. Liz’s advocacy and willingness to stand up against the powers that be enhanced the transparency and fiscal integrity of the DuPage County Water Commission.
In 2012, Liz was elected to the DuPage County Board, receiving the most votes among the four candidates on the ballot in District Two.
Liz is serving on the County Board with the same tenacity she displayed on the Water Commission. Liz has relentlessly challenged back room dealing making, excessive salaries and benefits for elected officials, lucrative contracts for the associates of connected insiders, and the practice of allowing campaign contributions from vendors doing business with the County.
Liz Chaplin’s philosophy is that government needs to be frugal and fiscally responsible while providing needed services which include education, public safety, quality infrastructure and human services. When tax dollars are spent lining the pockets of those connected with the insider elite, government cannot afford to do what needs to be done.
Liz describes her style of leadership as “about doing what’s right and in the best interest of the taxpayers” and she acknowledges sometimes we need “to shake up the apple cart to get things done.”
“What really makes me different from a lot of other elected officials is that I really do enjoy working with my constituents,” Liz says. “I talk with them, engage them on the issues and attend meetings. Too many officials are pro-business or pro-special interests, but not pro-individuals and pro-small groups. That’s the biggest difference between them and me.”

Why is DuPage County Spending So Much Money On Lobbyists

Kane County Board members serve as their own lobbyist. Kane County is not using tax dollars to pay outside lobbyists for a job they can do themselves.

http://kanecountyconnects.com/2015/01/lauzen-our-legislative-committee-will-lobby-for-less-government/

At $282,000 DuPage County will spend three times the amount of what Will County spends for lobbyists.

http://www.opensecrets.org/lobby/clientlbs.php?id=D000058623&year=2015

 

The Daily Herald reports the following -DuPage may spend $282,000 on state, federal lobbyists – Robert Sanchez

DuPage board members are considering whether to pay four lobbying firms a total of $282,000 to push the county’s legislative agenda in Springfield and Washington, D.C.

Two of the firms — Roger C. Marquardt & Co. and NJ Kimme & Co. — would be new lobbyists for the county at the state level.
DuPage also might renew its contract with All-Circo Inc., which has been working with state lawmakers on the county’s behalf since 2011.

DuPage also might renew its contract with All-Circo Inc., which has been working with state lawmakers on the county’s behalf since 2011.

The fourth firm, BGR Government Affairs LLC, focuses on federal initiatives.

On Tuesday, the county board’s legislative committee is scheduled to take a series of votes on each of the proposed contracts during a 9:15 a.m. meeting at the DuPage administration building, 421 N. County Farm Road in Wheaton.

The panel’s recommendations are expected to be considered by the full county board on Aug. 23.

As part of its proposed contract with the county, NJ Kimme & Co. would get $55,000 to do lobbying work from Sept. 15 to Sept. 14, 2017.

Vendor disclosure statements show the firm made a $1,000 donation to county board Chairman Dan Cronin’s campaign in June 2015.

Roger C. Marquardt & Co. also contributed to the campaigns of five Republican county board members over the past year.

Between April 2015 and last month, the firm donated $1,000 to John Curran, $1,000 to Donald Puchalski, $500 to Brian Krajewski, $500 to Jim Zay and $250 to Sam Tornatore, records show.

You can read the full story using the provided link: 

http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20160806/news/160809261/